Monday, February 15, 2010

Concert Review (and Interview!): Cedric Burnside & Lightnin' Malcolm

Cedric Burnside & Lightnin' Malcolm
9:30 Club, Washington DC
Feb. 8, 2010
by Cole Stangler and Mark Waterman
Hosts, "The Cosmic American Music Radio Hour," Saturdays 2-4 pm on WGTB

At a mostly empty 9:30 Club—in stark contrast to the crowd that saw Galactic later—Cedric Burnside and Lightnin’ Malcolm took the stage for a short set of some hill country blues. Despite the sparse crowd, Burnside and Malcolm, known as the Juke Joint Duo and The Two Man Wrecking Crew, were not short on energy as they pounded out some edgy country blues.

With its’ gritty and unpretentious sound, the duo channels the great hill country and blues tradition of north Mississippi—launching into extensive trances without the smoother and predictable chord changes of standard blues. Although Cedric and Malcolm performed all original songs, their sound is unmistakably derived from hill country legends Junior Kimbrough and R.L. Burnside, Cedric’s grandfather.

“Me, when I was six, seven years old…and a bunch of other grandkids…we be out there kickin’ up dust, you know to that music. That was our music. And that’s how me myself—I feel like I am the blues ‘cause I just grew up with the blues and it’s always been in me,” Cedric said.

(Read more and hear the full interview after the jump!)

That’s ultimately what makes the duo’s music so appealing. Blues music is often duplicated but rarely delivered in its most authentic form. And especially hill country blues—a form so dependent on feel and rhythm—is nearly impossible to duplicate unless the musicians really know what they’re doing. As the two belted out Don’t Just Sing About the Blues, Cedric sang as he ferociously pounded on the drums, “Some people say they read about the blues, been readin’ bout them for a while / Well I don’t have to read about the blues, I’ve been livin’ it since I was a child.”

Other highlights of the set included Stay Here in Your Arms, a trudging Kimbrough-esque tune sung by Lightnin’ Malcolm, sounding like he was another of Burnside’s thirty-five grandchildren.

Steve “Lightnin’” Malcolm is a white man from Missouri but that hasn’t held him back from playing the hill country blues.

“When I was playing around home, there wasn’t nobody else thinking about playing like that. They thought something was wrong with me at first,” Malcolm said. “We just met each other through his granddaddy. I was a big fan of his granddaddy’s music so I’d been visiting for a while.”

Although every other song was from their 2008 studio effort “Two Man Wreckin’ Crew”, the band also rocked through one of their older tunes—the instrumental Juke Joint Duo which left plenty of opportunity for Cedric to show his prowess on the drums. The two also plowed through That’s My Girl and Fightin’, edgy hill country tunes to capp off the set.

As Malcolm said earlier, “We got a lot of sounds we can make with two people. At least that’s what they say.”
Cedric Burnside and Lightning Malcolm Interview by wgtbmusic

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

awesome interview